Nick Madrigal and his family now know personally what damage a hurricane can impose on land. As a member of the age 18-and-under Team USA baseball squad that competed the past couple weeks in the La Paz, Mexico the Elk Grove High School shortstop saw the results of Hurricane Odile which hit the Mexican Baja Peninsula a week ago.
“There were trees laying in the road, flooding everywhere,” Madrigal recalled.
Team USA was a perfect 8-0 competing in the COPABE Pan American Championships and was in the middle of its championship game Sept. 14 with Cuba before the weather turned sour.
|Team USA winners of COPABE Pan American Championships in LaPaz, Mexico
The game was halted with USA leading 1-0, the gold medals were awarded the Americans, silver to the Cubans and then the teams were hurried to safety at a hotel where many of the players’ parents, including Madrigal’s mom and dad were staying.
After the hurricane passed the families, players and Team USA coaches were taken Sept. 15 to a nearby military base because the local airport was shut down.
“We stayed in an abandoned school,” Madrigal said. “It was pretty creepy. There was barbed wire everywhere.”
The team members couldn’t sleep that night so they stayed up much of the night playing volleyball. The promise of a military plane to take the Americans didn’t initially materialize so they spent a second night at the school.
Finally, a couple Mexican military transports Sept. 17 arrived to take most of Team USA to Tijuana where they could be bused across the border to San Diego. They went almost 36 hours with no food or water.
A third group, made of about 20 parents and Team USA personnel, had to spend a third night in La Paz and finally chartered a plane to take them to Los Angeles. Madrigal’s father, Mike, was in that contingent.
“He is glad to be home and is tearing up his passport,” Elk Grove head baseball coach Jeff Carlson said after talking to the elder Madrigal.
Despite the ordeal, Nick said it was an experience he’ll never forget.
“I really wouldn’t change anything,” he said. “It went pretty well and it was nice to finally get the gold.”
One the field Madrigal was the lead off hitter and the team’s starting shortstop. He hit .481 with 13 hits and seven stolen bases during the tournament.
Now a senior, Madrigal is focusing in on his final year of high school baseball and has already verbally committed to attend Oregon State next school year.
“I am definitely set on going to Oregon State,” he said. “I want to get our (high school) team to another championship (in the spring).”
Elk Grove won the 2013 Sac Joaquin Section championship with Madrigal starting at shortstop. This past season the Herd made it as far as the North Division I championship game before losing to Davis.
NFL Locals and Their Stats
Jeremy Ross (Laguna Creek H.S.) had three catches for 20 yards in Detroit’s 19-7 win over Green Bay Sunday. Ross also had one rushing attempt, but was thrown for a five-yard loss.
The speedster who attended Cal had a pair of kickoff returns and two punt returns in the game.
New York Jets’ rookie Jalen Saunders (Pleasant Grove H.S.) faced former Elk Grove linebacker Lance Briggs in the Monday night NFL showdown.
Ethan Westbrooks (Franklin H.S.) had a pair of tackles for the St. Louis Rams in their 34-31 loss to Dallas Saturday.
In the collegiate ranks Arik Armstead (Pleasant Grove H.S.) has 15 tackles, a forced fumble and a sack thus far for the Oregon Ducks.
Though Nate Iese (Sheldon H.S.) is listed as a linebacker on the UCLA roster, he has made brief appearances on the offensive side of the ball for the Bruins. He has four receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Sacramento State defeated Menlo College Saturday in a non-conference affair, 59-14. One of those two Menlo touchdowns was scored by former Elk Grove H.S. wide receiver Brandon SooHoo on a 20-yard reception.
Josh Letuligasenoa (Elk Grove H.S.) is the third-leading tackler this season for Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. He has 17 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass deflection in the Mustangs’ first three games.
With the presence of two former EGUSD head coaches – Josh Crabtree of Sheldon and Ryan Gomes of Cosumnes Oaks - on its coaching staff it is no wonder the roster of the American River College Beavers is littered with local football players.
Pleasant Grove has five alumni now playing at ARC. They are Kyle Dixon, Tyree Hanson, Ian Broom, Mark Jenkins and Josh Huston. Monterey Trail is represented by C’Maje Ramseur and Viliami Umufuke.
Franklin’s William Vi, Ky Harris-Farrar, Damion Sanders and Robert Sanders are now playing for the Beavers. So are the former Elk Grove running back tandem of Wadus Parker and Deon Ransom.
Bradshaw Christian is represented by quarterback Daniel Lewis while former Laguna Creek QB Chance Veimau-Ching is also on the ARC roster. Another ex-Laguna Creek Cardinal also playing for the Beavers is Jovon Yancey.
From Sheldon High School are Antonio Perez, Jarrod Badger and Sadarius Polhill.